The Top 4 Tech Trends for Schoolsapower
As we start the school year, teachers, parents and students – and, yes, IT departments – are once again turning their attention to classroom technology. Whether it’s bring your own device (BYOD), apps, or upgrades, it pays to update your knowledge about tech trends so that you’ll know a deal when you see it.
That means looking to the future and buying something that will serve you for the next three to five years, as security, graphics, compatibility, and mobility are constantly evolving.
Top of mind for IT departments across all schools is security. Student data must be kept secure, while at the same time being accessible to students, teachers, and parents. With so many entry points into the system, from printers to mobile devices and wearables, the vulnerabilities in a system can be easily exposed.
That’s why multi-factor authentication should be a feature of any network design, as hardware and software evolve rapidly. That will become increasingly important as the number of instructional tools expands.
Tech choices for the new year will need to consider graphics, as systems need enough grunt to display multiple forms of educational media. Video presentations, for example, are increasingly being used in classrooms.
However, graphics capabilities have knock-on effects for IT departments, not least among them being the need for high-speed networking in a wireless environment. As networks are required to move ever-larger, more detailed graphics and audio files, the demand for speed is increasing.
The proliferation of devices on school networks means that systems will need to be able to cope with a wide mix of platforms and form factors. Whether it’s a tablet, smartphone, desktop, laptop or hybrid, software and capabilities must work seamlessly with teachers’ lesson plans.
It’s (of course) disruptive and lesson-slowing if students can’t access learning materials. That’s why many schools are now rethinking BYOD, and are adopting a more streamlined (and standardized) approach to technology.
Pedagogy should come before technology, and many schools are seeing that tablets are not cutting it in the classroom. This has caused them to turn to laptops or hybrid form factors. Could we perhaps see a return to the computer labs of old?
Another consideration when buying new technology is mobility. Wireless is ubiquitous, but the school community also wants to be able to access their data offsite. From the teacher who wants to prepare work to the student who needs to complete work, everyone needs to think about mobility.
Add to that — for some institutions at least — the requirement for technology to operate across or even between different campuses, and the ability to access data on multiple devices, in multiple locations, in real-time is now an important consideration.
In short, security, graphics, compatibility, and mobility are the primary hardware considerations driving changes in education systems. For educational IT specialists, specifications for these should be part of any requirements list for this year’s shopping list.